Bachelor of Veterinary Science

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Join a world-leading veterinary science programme

By studying veterinary science at Massey University you’ll join a world-leading veterinary programme that will qualify you to work as a veterinarian in many different areas.

What is it like?

Massey is the only university in New Zealand that offers veterinary training, and the degree is widely recognised internationally. The Massey University BVSc programme is fully accredited by the Australasian Veterinary Board Council (AVBC), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The BVSc is also recognised through reciprocity by the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA).This means you could work as a veterinarian not only in New Zealand, but also Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA and many other countries.

Veterinary science is a key focus for Massey University’s Palmerston North campus and we have some of the best facilities in Australasia. The BVSc is a five-year degree that is divided into a pre-selection phase and a professional phase.

A new wildlife hospital opened in 2016 - the only such facility at a New Zealand university, where we treat many of our endangered species. A 24-hour pet emergency centre and an equine hospital opened in 2014 which complement the existing veterinary clinic for companion and production animals (e.g. sheep, dairy and beef cows).


Massey University is ranked no.23 for our veterinary science programme in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking.

Challenge yourself

In line with the international recognition for the degree, you will find that the study of veterinary science is rigorous and challenging.

You will need to work hard, and apply yourself, but the result will be an interesting, varied, and rewarding career.

You'll need a good background in the sciences if you want to become a veterinarian.

Work all over the world

Our veterinary school was the first in the Southern Hemisphere to be accredited by the AVMA. This means the Massey University BVSc is recognised by the AVMA as being equivalent to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from an accredited North American university.

How does it work?

Massey’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), is a five-year (10 semester) programme. The first semester (beginning in February) is referred to as the “BVSc pre-selection” semester.

Depending on your performance in this first semester, you may be selected to the ‘professional phase’ of your qualification, beginning in July (4.5 years long). Selection is highly-competitive so focussing on great results for your first semester is vital.

What will it be like?

You will study core medical sciences (tailored for veterinary students), as well as normal and then abnormal animal structure and function. Then you’ll be taught how to “fix” animals, or return them to normal function through clinical studies, medicine, surgery and health management of companion and agricultural animal species.

Throughout years 1-4 there is a focus on professional studies and attributes for veterinarians and integrative problem oriented courses. These integrative courses encourage students to apply the information learned in the other individual courses to real life veterinary cases and scenarios designed to develop problem solving and critical thinking.

In your fifth and final year you get to choose an area of interest (track), and will do lots of work placements while you are studying. This gives you invaluable on-the-job experience. This individualised final year curriculum allows you to further explore your area of interest while ensuring wide coverage of the main veterinary species.

During the programme you will attend lectures, tutorials, practical classes and clinical sessions and undertake farm and veterinary practical work outside of university semester time.

A good fit if you:

  • Do well in science and mathematics
  • Like solving problems and are self-motivated
  • Want a challenging and rewarding career working with animals
  • Enjoy meeting new people and are a good communicator
Emma Cuttance
Bachelor of Veterinary Science
Graduated in 2008
Clinical Veterinarian - Veterinary Enterprises

“Studying at Massey was the best time of my life. I met life-long friends, worked with amazing people and student life was so much fun…”

Like most people I wanted to be a vet because of my love for animals. The number of years I had to study to become a vet was never an issue as I came straight from school and didn’t know anything other than studying. The vet programme is definitely challenging but the work life is equally complemented by the fun social curriculum - which is tradition for vet students. The skills that you take away from such a challenging degree such as time management, focus and dedication are invaluable. I tried to get as much work experience as possible - I spent one summer on a dairy farm in Taranaki, one on a sheep and beef farm in Fairlie, one on a goat farm in Morrinsville and another on a dairy farm in Hamilton. I had a job sorted by Easter in my final year at Veterinary Enterprises as a clinical veterinarian. I have worked there for six years. I’m also the dairy team leader for the North Island clinics. Massey taught me to work hard, communicate well and look for opportunities. The degree is for animals but it is a people-orientated job and you need to work just as hard at these skills as you do the technical skills.


The study of veterinary science at Massey University will give you broad-based scientific training that can lead to many different challenging and rewarding careers in fields related to animals.

Veterinary practice

If you work as a clinical veterinarian you’ll provide high-quality care for animals, whether they are pets, working animals, farm livestock or wildlife. You’ll use diagnostic and communication skills to promote the health and wellbeing of a range of animals, to make a real difference for both them and their owners.

Other potential careers

There are many other career opportunities for you with your veterinary qualification, like:

  • Animal incursion investigator helping to diagnose new and emerging animal diseases, and working on responses to potential outbreaks.
  • Food safety veterinarian and other contributions to public health
  • Veterinary researcher contributing to animal health and production
  • Protect New Zealand wildlife in the Department of Conservation

Develop specialist skills

If you have a particular interest, you could become a specialist by completing some further study. There are veterinary specialists in areas like oncology (cancer), ophthalmology (eyes), dermatology (skin), epidemiology and surgery.

You could use your specialist skills to make your mark as a university lecturer, helping to teach and inspire up and coming veterinarians.

Pathways to postgraduate study

Most BVSc graduates spend some time working in clinical practice or other veterinary endeavours for a few years to gain further experience. However, there are opportunities to develop further skills through clinical specialisation or via postgraduate study.

International students

We welcome international applications for Massey's Bachelor of Veterinary Science.

From the first day you will get hands-on animal experience and be exposed to ‘real-world’ veterinary problems. Our veterinary school is ranked first in the world by employers and no.15 in the world for veterinary science in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings.

Fast track your veterinary career

In New Zealand, professional training programs like veterinary medicine are undergraduate programmes so you don’t need a previous degree.
If you successfully complete Massey University's Bachelor of Veterinary Science you will be qualified in only five years, the fastest pathway to becoming a fully-qualified veterinarian from an AVMA accredited programme.

Studying in New Zealand

How to apply

Go to the entry and planning section of this course site to work out what type of international student you might be and what this means for requirements and fees

Find out more

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